Honduras: police torture priest and his brothers

Marco Aurelio Lorenzo, a Catholic priest based in the western Honduran department of Santa Bárbara, filed a criminal complaint with the Public Ministry on Jan. 4 charging that he and his two brothers had been tortured by eight police agents. Lorenzo said the attack occurred on Dec. 26 on a road between La Esperanza and San Miguelito, Intibucá department, as the brothers were driving to visit their parents in Yamaranguila, also in Intibucá. “They beat us on every part of our bodies,” Lorenzo told reporters after filing the charges in the northern city of San Pedro Sula.

The new accusation against the police follows several months of media reports about police involvement in corruption, drug trafficking, auto theft and murders, including the Oct. 22 killing of two college students. (EFE, Jan. 4, via Univision, Jan. 5, via Latin American Herald Tribune)

Lorenzo is known for his activism in defense of the environment. He was arrested and beaten by police agents on July 17, 2007, after a peaceful protest against open-pit mining, and he was beaten by three unidentified men on Aug. 13, 2004. The Committee of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees in Honduras (COFADEH) is demanding that the Honduran government take measures to guarantee the physical integrity of Lorenzo and his brothers and their access to justice, without allowing reprisals against them. The human rights organization asks for letters to be sent to Honduran officials, including Supreme Court President Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilés (cedij@poderjudicial.gob.hn) and Public Prosecutions Director (lrubi@mp.hn), with copies to COFADEH (berthacofadeh@yahoo.com). (Alliance for Global Justice alert, Jan. 5)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 8.

See our last post on Honduras.